Best Tire and Lift Size Combo

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Nov 4, 2010
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Hey guys, I know there are lots of threads on best tires sizes or lifts to run, but I feel like the answer varies based on needs. So I’m going to post anyway.

Anyway, I have a ‘91 that I want to make a capable camping vehicle, but it will also be my daily driver unless I get a second car (which likely won’t happen for a long time).

Right now I’m contemplating between 33 and 35 inch tires, and for the lift I’m think somewhere around 2.5 inches.

What are your guy’s thoughts?
*Note: I have 16 inch rims*
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
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LUGOFF, SC
Tire size is easy. 33's because the spare fits in the stock location and you don't have to re-gear.
Lift is highly debatable, but up to three inches and you don't jack up the geometry too bad.
The caster is easy to adjust for, as is the rear panard with bolt on bits. Nothing custom made is required, i.e the parts are available through several vendors.
Don't need to worry about drive line vibs, or adjustable control arms it the rear.

I went the Delta VS Treat Yourself Kit route. Dave had everything kitted up and ready to go.
I supplied rear bump stop extensions (2"sqr tubing from Online Metals) and rear sway bar extensions (Manafre).

Mine is a DD that's used for camping and playing.
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fj80pb

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The issue has been debated ad-nauseam here. At the end, it’s a question of personal preference, common driving conditions...and budget indeed.
In just stock form, this vehicle is insanely capable, as you know. As other members said, if you plan staying in well maintained forest roads, a good all terrain tire 31” to 33” will do the trick
Being also your DD, a modest 2” lift like, OME or Fox, along with tuned springs for your average load will improve your driving experience significantly
FWIW, in my experience, more often than anything else, lockers first and winch second have saved the day.
Cheers!
 

leonard_nemoy

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Honestly these rigs are super capable. Get some high clearance bumpers and get rid of the low hanging fruit like the mud flaps and running boards.

Than you could run a good aggressive 31" tire and still have a very capable rig. It won't get stuck unless you get high centered on something. Like a bumper on a rock, frame or axles in mud, or axles in the snow for example.

Lifts and bigger tires are fun but with these old rigs being gutless for today's standards, both the 3fe and 1fz-fe, it makes sense to keep the 31" tires and have the best highway driving possible, especially if you just want to go camping and exploring.

My 97 has lockers, part time 4wd, 35"s, and lots of other mods. In all honestly I drive it in 2wd almost 99% of the time when I am off-road. Usually because when I am off-road I am just exploring BLM and NFS trails and camping.

Unless I am going specifically to go wheeling somewhere like sand hollow I almost never use the 4wd.

It's nice to have the 4wd for hunting or camping/exploring because it gives me the ability to keep going when the going gets tough and it gets me unstuck if the rig gets stuck in 2wd. But at the end of the day I would probably be able to do 90% or more of the adventuring, exploring, hunting, and camping with a stock suspension cruiser with good aggressive 31" tires.

After 8 years of daily driving and adventuring in an 80 I would keep my 80 at stock height and run good 31"s if I was going to do it all over again. Especially because I do a lot of highway miles driving all over Utah to get to different mountains ranges and such.

Sorry for the long winded post but I just wanted to give you some advice based on my experience.
 

Irish Reiver

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As mentioned above when it comes to lifts and tire size every decision you make can have huge repercussions on other aspects of your truck.. Go above 33" tires and now you need a tire carrier...extra weight is significant. If you went for 35" tires would you be able to lift on to a hub if you got a flat? You don't need to be Ironman to lift one but it helps. If you go with an aftermarket bumper with a tire carrier then you need uprated springs as well as the lift. Now your front end is pointing to the stars. Driveline angles are all over the place. More weight at the front required to balance it all out...roll on the front aftermarket bumper, winch and dual batteries and a DC driveshaft. It gets real crazy real quick so unless you are prepared to kick pandora's box and suck up everything that comes your way you are best to stick with 33's and forget the lift. Pull off the stock side steps and it looks like a 2" lift anyway. Oh and my stock struck was getting 17mph. My 3" lifted truck with 35's and all the hardware barely scraped 10mpg. If you are daily driving and hitting 10k miles then your gas bill just went up by $1k per year.
 

Heckraiser

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Since you've got a 3fE tractor, I would say 33x10.5 tops. 31x10.5 or 32x11.5 would be good too. EDIT: OOPS, missed the comment you have 16" rims. In that case, I would recommend 265/75, 255/85, 285/75, 275/70, 305/70 in that order (although a little arbitrary, just my thoughts)

My rig went pretty much everywhere I wanted to go including some of the tougher trails in Colorado and Utah on 265/75r16 (basically a 32x10.5). It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done. I'll be the first to admit that my decision to go to 35's was primarily an aesthetic one and I still sometimes question it. If I had a 91 and not a 96, I would have definitely stayed with 33's or smaller
 
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I agree with Heckraiser that for your use, a 31 inch category tire would serve you better, unless you are going to re-gear it. It will be much more enjoyable to drive. And it will take you camping anywhere you want too. JMHO.
 
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Let me give you some of my personal insight and first hand experience with a 3FE fj80. The rig can handle 37s with some upgrades, and although it is not my DD, i have done 2-3k miles round trips a couple times a year with moderate to hardcore rock crawling and no problem on highway keeping up with new jeeps on similar lifts and tire sizes. WIth that said, if you dont want to regear, stick with 33s and a 2.5 in lift will be plenty capable for your needs. Throw in a rear aftermarket lockers and you will be set. I have owned the rig with 31s, 33s, 35s , and now 37s, and i will tell you it rides and drives the best with 37s and 488 gear. Given your rig is mechanically sound and all the emission control is in good working order. Anyways, good luck with your tire and lift choices, it is all about how you want to use your rig and how it compliments your lifestyle. And DONT listen to any 3FE haters on here cause they dont matter much.
CHeers.
 
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Colorado
For what it's worth, I bought my LX as a camping rig. I've had for two years now, and not once have I found myself wanting a lift. I'm on 265's.

For exploring BLM land, forest service roads, and similar - a stock 80 will do great.

My future plans for the suspension include Dobinson's stock height springs and IMS shocks.
 

COYS

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I bought the truck with a simple OME medium lift and so it shall remain.

Over the span of 3.5 years & 47K miles, I've gone from 33s to 35s (4.88s + new drive shafts + new suspension bushings + caster plates) to current 37s ("" + Delta 4" arms). Each tire size iteration made me go from happy to happier. If someone told me I have to revert back to 33s or even 35s, I'd just go ahead and list my 80 fs.

It's been really fun to tackle the upgrade challenge and deduce what's best for me. Enjoy the journey!

Screenshot 2021-09-14 2.43.00 PM.png
 
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on the rocks

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You really need to explain what kind of camping you and how deep your pockets are before someone can clearly answer this. Happy with a county road or camp ground, sure why not 31's. It would ultimately be way cheaper to enjoy it if cost is an issue, If like me I like to get away from others and +10,500 ft. I hate to turn back because I'm worried about ripping off the running boards or something worse. Also no desire to hit every huge pile of rocks here either, I have other toys for that.
If your in higher elevations and want to feel comfortable to get just about everywhere, I say yank the running boards, do a 3"-3.5" lift, leave everything else absolutely stock to save weight and throw on some 35's. Over 20 years here with that setup and I wouldn't change a thing( I am triple locked tho) Very little issue if any on the highway if you do your homework and spend $$ in the right areas. Do you need them? Probably not but man they just set the 80 up just right to give you much more piece of mind.
The 3FE may throw a wrench in that as I haven't experienced one on 35's.
I wouldn't suggest an 80 for any DD unless your talking 5 minute drives, just my .02. For that just go a 4runner and save you some headaches and a lot of $$ on fuel.
This is coming from someone that dove straight in on a near new 80 and a 1fzfe tho. With an 80 with 200K+ miles this may be a different story and be ready to open the wallet for more than just fuel. The days of throwing tires and mild lift and just driving an 80 is starting to become more of a challenge due to age,
 
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Is there a marked performance difference going from 265’s to 285’s? I was going to make the change today, but I’m somewhat concerned about losing power. I ordered 285/75R16 KO’s.
 
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east coast Canada
I went 255/80/17(33”) on FJ Cruiser steelies and no lift(for now). Truck is VERY capable in this form. The narrower tire makes for a nice handling rig on and off road. Doesn’t dart around on the highway like wide tires cause, in my experience anyways. I still get a solid 15mpg in combined driving. I don’t do mud or snow so the narrow tires are perfect.

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Broski

I love Wheelin my 80
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I went 255/80/17(33”) on FJ Cruiser steelies and no lift(for now). Truck is VERY capable in this form. The narrower tire makes for a nice handling rig on and off road. Doesn’t dart around on the highway like wide tires cause, in my experience anyways. I still get a solid 15mpg in combined driving. I don’t do mud or snow so the narrow tires are perfect.

View attachment 2786821
Perfect for the mall :p
 
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I have a 97 with about 2.5" of lift and 315's (35's nominally). I really like my 80 but if you're going to drive it for more than 10-20 min going to work (you said DD so I assume some sort of commute) then I'd be very hesitant to go with anything over a 33" tire. I didn't know any better and I bought my 80 with 315's on it. Look is killer. Clearance is obviously better than stock would be...but drive the truck first and let real problems tell you what you need. I would go back and take my own advice if I could.
 

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